On Jan. 11th, I completed my second advance manuals speech for Toastmasters at CSUSB. My speech was entitled, “Nothing is More Powerful Than a Made up Mind: Part 2.”
I was meeting with the advisor of Toastmasters a few weeks before Christmas break at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). During those weeks, we went over my previous speeches, and she suggested that I re-do my previous speeches, but make them better.
The first speech I presented was the original “Nothing is More Powerful Than a Made up Mind,” which was Nov. 4th 2015. During this speech, I gave a brief overview of my experience with cancer. It was the first time I spoke about my experience to an audience.
Fast-forward to Jan. 11th 2017, it was time for me to really step up because this is how I want to make a living. I could honestly say “Nothing is More Powerful than a Made up Mind: Part 2” is the best speech I’ve presented since I joined Toastmasters at CSUSB in 2015.
Check out my Nothing is More Powerful Than a Made up Mind: Part 2 speech video here: http://www.calmandstrong.net/videos
I made a video slideshow to go along with my speech. It consisted of many pictures from the time frame from 1999 to 2013. During this time frame, I was diagnosed with cancer two-times, attended three educational institutions, made the newspaper two-times, played sports and was inspired by entertainment media (music and a videogame).
For instance, I was sick with knee cancer (right knee) at 14 years old and I made the Silverado High School Junior Varsity basketball team. I made the Victorville Daily Press newspaper two-times and when I got sick again with knee cancer at 17 years old, I became a hip amputee.
Within the slideshow video, I also had pictures from entertainment media that inspired me to believe “Nothing is More Powerful Than a Made up Mind.” They are music artist’s Nas and The Pharcyde and the inFAMOUS videogame franchise and superhero Cole MacGrath.
My plan was to play the video while I was speaking about my experiences and realities with cancer.
Check out my PowerPoint Presentation: Part 2 Slideshow Video here: http://www.calmandstrong.net/photos
When it was my turn to speak, the video wasn’t working and I had to do my speech without it. Once I realized I couldn’t use the video, it lit a fire within me that gave me confidence. I believed that I didn’t need the video to help tell my story because I know the material.
I started my speech with a quote from Nas:
“When everything around me got cloudy, the chair became a king’s throne, my destiny found me. It was clear why the struggle was so painful. Metamorphosis, this is what I changed to and God, I’m so thankful.”
- Nas, You’re Da Man, Stillmatic
When I said that quote, I felt I had the audience’s attention, and I spoke about the ups and downs I was forced to overcome. For instance, I first got sick with Stage I cancer at 14 years old and only attended the first week of my freshmen year at Silverado High School (Victorville, CA).
I had to get a knee replacement while doing chemotherapy treatment, and returned to back to high school my sophomore year. I made the junior varsity basketball team my junior year, and during my senior year the cancer came back in my right knee at Stage IV.
While doing my chemotherapy treatment a second time, the cancer had traveled to my right lung. A needle biopsy was used to take the cancer off my lung, which was a success.
Since there was nothing further doctors could do, I had to get my right leg amputated (Hip amputee) and now could only walk with a prosthetic leg . I got my leg amputated in 2003, but it wasn’t until May 26th 2009, when the original inFAMOUS videogame was released and changed my life forever.
I spoke about my connection with the main character: superhero Cole MacGrath. For example, Cole was an ordinary bike messenger delivering a package, and the package exploded leveling six square blocks of Empire City. Cole was at the center of the explosion, alive, but changed and forced to control electricity.
I connected with that part of his story the most because I was an ordinary teenager, then I found out I was forced to have knee cancer at 14 years old.
During my speech, I said, “I felt I knew what Cole was going through when electrical superpowers were forced upon him, because I was forced to have knee cancer twice during my teen years.”
“The game helped my make a decision: to think positive and do something to help myself; or stay in a dark and depressing place because I didn’t have control of my situation.”
I was in Loma Linda Hospital (Loma Linda, CA) hooked up to an IV pole with my Grandmother and Uncle by my bedside; like Cole (inFAMOUS video game franchise) who was also in the hospital hooked up to an IV pole with his girlfriend Trish and best friend Zeke by his bedside.
In 1999, this photo was taken of me when I was 14 years old, and this image I lifted from the original inFAMOUS, which came out in 2009.
Towards the end of my speech I said, “How inFAMOUS Saved my Life: The inFAMOUS franchise showed my whatever happened to me in the past cannot be changed, but I have the choice to do something about my future.”
“The game gave me everything I’ve been looking for ever since my right leg got amputated at 17 years old. I FINALLY found something I could relate to with Cole’s inspirational story.”
I also spoke about my accomplishments: I graduated from Victor Valley College (Victorville, CA) with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts, with an emphasis in journalism in 2008.
I finished my undergraduate studies at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Minor in Africana Studies in 2012.
I concluded my speech by saying, “From my experience, I’ve learned it’s important to have a plan and not run away from problems, because being prepared is fighting half the battle. When you feel passionate about something, follow your instincts because “Nothing is More Powerful Than a Made up Mind.”
At the end of each Toastmasters meeting, we have an evaluator who critiques the speakers speeches. My evaluator said he liked that my story was chronological, and the lesson I wanted to get across was to not run away from problems.
He also liked that my story had many climax situations. For example, I had the cancer diagnosis, then I recovered with a knee replacement. I made the high school basketball team, but then the cancer returned and I had to get my right leg amputated.
I recovered again and I had an emotional connection with inFAMOUS and Cole MacGrath, which helped me accept the person I am today.
The Grammarian liked how I was descriptive talking about the type of bone cancer I had, which was Osteosarcoma. This cancer accounts for 3% of cancers that happen to children. It is one of the few cancers that begin in the bones and could spread elsewhere, like the lungs of other bones.
After the meeting, two guests approached me and said my speech affected them emotionally because they also had family members who went through the struggle of dealing with cancer.
My goal as an inspirational speaker was to affect people emotionally when I speak, and I noticed I did that with just my words and without any images. I realized that I’m comfortable and able to speak to an audience about my dramatic story without any notes or PowerPoints.
I believe if I showed the images of my cancer experience while speaking. My speech would have been even more powerful.
PowerPoint Presentation Part 1: I’ve been working on perfecting this PowerPoint for years, and it expresses who I am 110%.
I combine my experiences and realities to the inFAMOUS videogame franchise and superhero Cole MacGrath. I also have music embedded from Nas and The Pharcyde to help tell my story.
Check it out my CalmandStrong: PowerPoint Presentation: Part 1 here: http://www.calmandstrong.net/videos
I do not own any content from the images displayed from inFAMOUS and inFAMOUS 2.
No Copyright Intended. All image content is copyright to their respective owners. All content is property of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), developed by Sucker Punch Productions,
I do not own any content from the album covers from the artist's displayed from Nas' Stillmatic and The Pharcyde's Labcabincalifornia.
No Copyright Intended. All image content is copyright to their respective owners. All rights go to Nas and The Pharcyde.